SB LiMotive, the Bosch-Samsung SDI joint-venture created to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric-drive vehicles, will be dissolved once its current contract obligations are satisfied. Bosch will take over all battery-systems operations and is looking to expand battery production in Europe. Each company will give the other access to its patents.
Early last year, the partnership began production at a South Korea factory with plans on doubling output by 2015. Partnership executives also told Ward's Auto at the time that it was looking into opening plants in Europe and North America. The BMW ActiveE and the Fiat 500 EV were among contracts the partnership won for lithium-ion battery production. SB LiMotive began operations in September 2008. The Bosch press release is available below.
- Bosch to step up its activities in the development and production of efficient battery technology
- Bosch to realign its strategy for the battery market
- Bosch to boost lithium-ion capabilities in Germany
- Supply agreements ensure fulfillment of current projects
- Future collaboration involving exchange of patents agreed
Stuttgart – Bosch is redefining the focal points of its activities to develop and produce batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. In light of changing market structures, this will allow Bosch to make the best possible use of its own capabilities, as well as to develop them further. For this reason, the two parent companies of the SB LiMotive joint venture have agreed to reorganize their collaboration and future business relationship. The agreement is subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities.
Focus remains on customers
Commenting on the reorganization, Dr. Bernd Bohr, the chairman of the Automotive Group of Robert Bosch GmbH, said: "When it comes to electromobility, a market with great potential for the future, we have already made a successful start with diverse projects, and are driving forward many other developments. In restructuring our operations, we can respond better to our customers' requirements with respect to market focus and speed, and will continue to work all out to expand our market activities."
In future collaboration with its former joint venture partner, steps have been taken to ensure that all development and supply agreements will be continued. In addition, the parties have agreed to grant each other access to patents.
The entire battery systems business will be transferred to Bosch, including all components, such as the crucial battery management system. Bosch will take over the subsidiary SB LiMotive Germany GmbH. Based in Stuttgart, it focuses on systems engineering, battery management systems, prototyping, marketing, and sales. At the same time, Cobasys will be integrated into Bosch. This subsidiary, which is important for the U.S. market, has locations in Orion (MI) and Springboro (OH).
Independent European network of battery specialists
Bosch plans to further expand its activities relating to electrochemistry and the production of lithium-ion battery cells. The objective is to cooperate closely with specialist partners from industry and higher education to establish research and development work on high-performance battery cells in Germany and to set up a European specialist network. This will enhance capabilities relating not only to batteries for electromobility, but also to the stationary energy storage devices of the future.
The establishment of a manufacturing facility in Europe is a further important component of Bosch strategy. The aim is to efficiently combine the know-how of German and European suppliers when it comes to materials and the construction of complex manufacturing facilities.
As one of the world's leading automotive suppliers, Bosch is positioning itself in the best possible way in the battery technology market for hybrid and electric vehicles. To achieve this, the Bosch Group spends 400 million euros a year for electromobility alone. In this area, Bosch currently employs more than 1,100 associates, including the roughly 300 battery specialists at SB LiMotive Deutschland in Stuttgart and Cobasys in the United States.